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Graduate-turned-butcher shares experience with alma mater

By Zhang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-08 10:04

Graduate-turned-butcher shares experience with alma mater

Lu Buxuan (right) helps his brother Lu Buning in the family butcher's shop. Chen Tuanjie / For China Daily

It was the first time in 24 years that Lu Buxuan was speaking at his alma mater, Peking University, and the scene was emotional.

His career choice of selling pork for a living after graduation in 1989 - at a time when college education was accessible only to a few in the society - has brought him to public attention for the past decade.

In April, Lu was invited to return to the university. This time as a speaker, providing advice to his juniors.

"I am very excited to stand here," Lu says. "I understand that only the elites of our society can stand here and give a speech to the students."

"I, on the other hand," he choked, and his face turned red, "brought shame to my alma mater."

Lu graduated from Peking University in 1989, majoring in Chinese language and literature, and was assigned to a factory job in his hometown in Shaanxi province.

"It was definitely not the job I liked. But most students were assigned jobs at that time."

Lu says his tough and stubborn personality made his career in the State-owned factory increasingly harder.

"I didn't talk much," says 47-year-old Lu. "And because I was too quiet and did not cultivate good relationships with people around me, I was ostracized."

Lu quit his low-paying factory job in 1999 and was planning to start a small business of his own. Setting up a stall in a food market was one of the easiest options.

"In our county, we don't normally sell pork in a wet market. Instead, we usually sell pork in a shop, which looks cleaner and better," he recalls. "And learning about pork is not very difficult."

Lu came under the media spotlight in 2003 when a television crew in Xi'an accidentally discovered that Lu, who has a degree from Peking University, sold pork in a local market for a living.

"Thanks to the media exposure and help from people from all walks of life, I've received attractive job offers from individuals and companies. Many contacted me after my story was publicized," Lu says.

Today, Lu works at the local government office in Xi'an, as a documentary writer.

He is quite happy with his current job and life, which he describes as "stable, respectable and comfortable".

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